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Everything posted by mrocktor

  1. Yeah, I like it here. There are obviously pros and cons to living in Brazil as opposed to the USA or Europe, the pros being (in my opinion) personal relationships (people are friendlier and more gregarious) and greater proffessional oportunity. On the con side, obviously, overall safety is a concern. Since I don't have kids, I have found this to be an acceptable risk. I'm an aeronautical engineer, by the way mrocktor
  2. Starting by assuming the robbery is irrational kind of shows your bias I find you greatly underestimate the unpredictability of life on general terms. Every rational decision has a risk/reward component, and the risks are hardly easy to quantify. As a clear example, no romantic involvement would ever be a rational decision in your terms. Can there be a more unpredictable factor than that? The consequences of a rejected or failed relationship are dire, obviously. In this you have basically conceded my point, unless you can show conclusively that the factors involved in every violation of another's "rights" have risks that are more unpredictable than nature itself. mrocktor
  3. To define a principle in these terms is not acceptable from a rational point of view, in my opinion. I'm sure we are all (or mostly) "good people" here, so abstracting our ingrained principles to seek only those principles that can be rationally derived is difficult. The analogy hardly holds, in blackjack the risk of hitting on a 20 is numerically quantifiable, and it is obvious that as a principle it would be idiotic. You are trying to extend this to a generality where the risk itself is not quantifiable, and may even be very small. You further assume that respecting other's rights is the path to long term prosperity, or the accumulation of value. This assumption is unsupported and requires as much proof as the conclusion you built on it. Finally, the relation of self-esteem with what I will call "being good", for the lack of a better term, is a further unsupported assumption. To wrap it up here are the questions to be answered rationally in order to validate your conclusion: 1. Does violating other people's "rights" always lead to less overall value to the violator? 2. Does violating other people's "rights" always negatively affect the violator's self esteem? I have yet to see a rational demonstration of (1), and have personally met people who apparently contradict (2). You can say "he isn't really happy", "he isn't really proud of himself"; you would be contradicting the evidence to support a theory. You have built a straw man and expertly taken him down. Our subject contemplating robbery is a rational being. He will perform only a robbery where his risk/reward evaluation is favorable. Whether it is a single event or a chain is irrelevant, as he will judge each event independently. Sure he is taking a risk to his life, but then so are we every time we get in the car and go to work. The point in question is: why is robbing a bank wrong, on rational principle? mrocktor
  4. Hi, My name is Peter and I am an engineer, living in Brazil. My (late) discovery of Objectivism was due to the songwriting of Neil Peart. I had seen Ayn Rand cited as an influence to his work but never bothered to look her up... I have now corrected this oversight. I hope to have constructive and interesting discussions with you folks! mrocktor
  5. OPM, I just found out about Ayn Rand and Objectivism myself (as in this week). I was surprised about how close Objectivism is to my own thinking, though I had never formulated my thought structure in a formal sense. That said, I am bound to agree to your statements about morality with regards to crime (whether they are your view or only material for discussion). It is entirely possible for an individual's rational self interest to be in doing something that causes harm to another - as your examples have stated. Trying to evade this aparent conundrum by saying what is essentially "think about the others" or "do unto others as you would have done to yourself" conflicts with the root of acting in rational self interest. Robbing someone does not mean I will be robbed, nor does it "give permission" for other people to rob from me. No one needs permission to rob from me, and it is up to me to protect myself from others. And thus we arrive at the point I would like to make: the need for protection from individuals who would prey on others rather than be productive is universal. Even the predators must protect themselves from other predators. Thus it is in my (and everyone elses) rational self interest to create barriers to actions that would negatively affect me. The result of this shared self interest is the institution of the state, as a protector of the individual's rights to life and property. If these rights were intrinsic to rational man, there would be no need for a state to defend them. I beleive they are not, and that "criminal" behavior must be actively fought against. To argue that rational man's ethics should prevent him from encroaching on another man's property even though there would be no adverse consequences (or citing a mystical loss of one's self worth) conflicts with the concept of self interest itself. mrocktor
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